Kenya targets major travel expo next month to promote tourism
Kenya hopes to use a major travel exhibition scheduled for next month to showcase various products in a bid to promote tourism, which has been through a rough patch over the recent years.
Nairobi will be hosting the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) forum from February 23 to 28 for the first time following a successful bid.
The event will be held against a backdrop of a travel advisory from the US urging its citizens to avoid parts of the Coast and Nairobi’s Eastleigh over fear of terror attacks.
ASTA Kenya chapter President Samson Some in a statement Monday said the expo will expose agents to various products in the country.
“We have an elaborate programme that we have lined up including training of agents which is aimed at tapping the growing American market,” said Mr Some. He said the expo will provide an opportunity for the agents to interact with various stakeholders.
ASTA is the world’s largest association of travel professionals with membership from agents and companies, where diverse packages are offered including airlines, cruises, tours, hotel bookings and rent-a–car services, among others.
Mr Some said about 70 per cent of its members are American agencies while the remaining 30 per cent are spread across the world.
It was founded in 1931, with the aim of stimulating the public’s desire to travel and promote the use of their members’ services. Participants will tour Maasai Mara among other tourist attraction sites.
Mr Some said the focus is to enable to Kenya compete with Morocco and South Africa, which are the best tourists attractions on the continent.
He said Kenyans should not worry about travel advisories, adding that they are not a deterrent to travelling.
A lot has been done to ensure that Kenya is safe for tourists, he said. Statistics from the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) indicate that the US overtook the UK as the top source of international tourists to Kenya in the first 10 months of last year as arrivals increased by 16.1 per cent.
The data further shows that 82,363 visitors from the US toured the country between January and October, compared to 80,821 from Britain.
The growth is welcome news to hoteliers who had been forced to cut jobs, slash pay or close shop following travel alerts issued in 2014 after a spate of terror attacks on leading tourist destinations.